Things to Do in Faro (Portugal)

Faro Portugal is one of the most beautiful destinations in the Algarve. Check the location of this region and this city in Google Maps. Faro is the capital of the Algarve, and the most coveted beach destination in the south of Portugal has much more to offer than you might think. It has more than enough historical, natural, and cultural heritage to place it at the top of the list of cities to visit in the Algarve. It has good old-fashioned cuisine and new cuisine to enjoy leisurely on the terrace. It’s cosmopolitan, energetic, and progressive in good Algarve fashion.

Faro Portugal
Image by Frank Nürnberger from Pixabay

Many of Faro’s historic sights, such as churches and old buildings, are extremely close to each other. By the way, Faro is a great place to explore on foot, not only because the city isn’t big, but because it’s also mostly flat. It is worth remembering that the entire Algarve region is well known for its beautiful and paradisiacal beaches and Faro is no different. Therefore, if you prefer this type of tourism, it is worth paying attention to the time of year to travel.


1. Cathedral or Church of Santa Maria

Cathedral or Church of Santa Maria
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It is one of the most interesting and important historical monuments in Faro. Located in Largo da Sé, the Sé Cathedral was built in 1251. This place was once a mosque which, in turn, had once been a Christian basilica. It presents an architecture with Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque characteristics, for those who appreciate art. Go up to the Tower, where you will find one of the best panoramic views over the city, sea and Ria Formosa. You can visit the Cathedral from Monday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm and on Saturdays from 9:30 am to 1 pm.


2. Church of San Francisco

Church of San Francisco
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The church of the São Francisco monastery, whose construction began in 1679, was expanded in the 18th and 19th centuries. It has a dazzling white facade, while its Baroque-style interior combines magnificent woodwork and hand-painted tiles . You can also see the life of San Francisco represented in its impressive vaulted ceiling.


3. Palacete Belmarco

Palacete Belmarco
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Palacete Belmarço is one of the most beautiful buildings in Faro. Originally the residence of the wealthy merchant Manuel de Jesus Belmarço, built-in 1912 by Manuel Joaquim Norte Júnior, the renowned architect of the time, today it houses the administrative services of the city. There you can admire many Art Nouveau motifs from the time: the lookout tower and its wrought iron balconies, the decorative elements in carved stone, the head of a limestone sphinx flanking the door, and the two tile panels representing Portuguese monuments and landscapes, such as the Belém Tower and the Pena National Palace.


4. Historic Center of Faro

Historic Center of Faro
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The city is medieval and surrounded by walls, so it has countless monuments that reveal a significant past. Strolling through the historic center is a very interesting way to get to know a little about the region and feel as if you were embarking on another era. Impossible not to be enchanted by the bucolic atmosphere of a corner surrounded by very charming buildings.


5. Desert Island

Desert Island
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The desert island is an essential attraction in the capital of the Algarve. As the name implies, the island is empty and has that isolated aspect, far from everything, that so pleases the traveler who wants to relax in the midst of nature. Access to this piece of paradise in Portugal is via a quick and peaceful crossing.


6. Palace of Estoi

Palace of Estoi
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Built in the Rococo style – a French artistic style with similarities to the Baroque – the Estoi Palace is an interesting example of European architecture. The building work ended in 1909 and today the place has beautiful ornaments inside and a beautiful garden outside, with some paintings, busts, and statues.


7. Praia da Falésia

Praia da Falésia
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Rightly named one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal, Falésia beach has a narrow strip of sand, and clear waters and is bordered by the geological formation that gives it its name. After diving into the sea and walking around feeling the breeze on your face, it’s worth stopping at a restaurant facing the sea and enjoying the whole day, until late afternoon.


8. Municipal Museum of Faro

Municipal Museum of Faro
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It will be very easy to conclude that the Portuguese municipality is an open-air museum just by walking through the streets, but the National Museum of the city includes the most complete information for the traveler who wants to know in detail the local history. There are permanent exhibitions about the origins of Faro, objects from the Islamic period, works by Renaissance artists, old paintings, and much more.


9. Arc of Rest

Arc of Rest
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One of the sights in Faro that you cannot miss in your itinerary is the Arco do Repouso. This is the place that gives access to the walls of Faro and, without a doubt, is one of the symbols of the history of Portugal. One more activity that you can include in your itinerary is a canoe trip. Basically, you start the activity at Marina de Faro and can go around the entire Formosa lagoon. Along the way, you will be able to glimpse all the beauty of the local nature, from crystalline waters to vegetation, fish, and birds.


10. Walls of Faro

Walls of Faro

The entire history of Faro is written on its walls, from the late Roman founding to the present day. The original Moorish construction, reinforcement after the reconquest, the sack of Faro by the English in 1596, post-restoration rebuilding, and even the 1755 earthquake left their marks. Arches and towers interrupting the walls, originally Moorish, tear through access doors of which the Arco da Vila and the Arco do Repouso stand out, and an undervalued Porta Nova. Choose the first for a grand entrance, and the second for a more authentic sense of time travel to the Reconquista.


11. Praia de Faro

Praia de Faro
Image by Julian Hacker from Pixabay

This beach is quite clean and well-maintained, with soft and fine golden sand. The Beach of Faro is situated on Península do Ancão. On one side of the island, there is the sea and on the other side of the island, there is the natural park of Ria Formosa. The beach is situated on the ocean side for about 5 km.